Archive | December 2015

First Love – Part 12

First Love coverMaddie knows that Claire hates her, though she doesn’t understand why. However, she is completely unprepared for the vicious nature of Claire’s attacks. Her nastiness is escalating rapidly and her next trick is to plant an open box of condoms in Maddie’s purse. Predictably, Polly doesn’t believe Madison, but Craig does.

Craig smiled at Patti. “I believe we might have room for you if we rearrange things in the luggage area. Interested?”

“Oh, yes, sir!” She grabbed her bag and followed him to the other station wagon.

Daniel and Richard had already started repacking the back so there was more room behind the seats. Some of the bigger items went into Leslie and Caroline’s car.

“You’re welcome to join me,” Clayton offered since it was his turn in the rear.

“I think that Brad should join you back there,” Craig said. “Ladies should sit on actual seats.”

“I’ll sit in the middle with Richard and Daniel,” Patti decided. “Sorry, Clayton. You’re cute and all, but I don’t want to sit back there with the suitcases.”

They rode the rest of the day in happy companionship. Polly and the girls would hardly speak to Craig and his group. She was furious with him for taking Maddie’s side and he couldn’t understand why she took up for Claire.

“I’m really sorry I got you in trouble with Mrs. C,” Maddie told Craig.

“Nonsense. She’ll calm down once we’re there. Don’t let it worry you, Maddie. I know that box of condoms wasn’t yours. The way you looked—like it was gonna bite you.” He laughed quietly. “I knew right then you weren’t expecting them. Anyone in her right mind would do her best to hide them, not throw them at me.”

“Thanks, Craig. That means a lot to me.” She hugged him.

He patted her on the hair. “Anytime.”

Clayton finally convinced Patti to ride in the back with him. He told her all about a new game he’d started playing, Dungeons and Dragons. They talked about the different types of characters and soon all of them were discussing the fantasy role playing game. Even Craig thought it sounded fun.

“We can get together and try a game when we get home. I have to have my stuff to run a scenario,” Clayton stated. “I wish I could do one now, cause it would be a great way to pass the time.”

“We can talk about it and imagine it,” Patti suggested. “I want to be an elf mage. My name is Anduval. Maddie, what about you?”

“I want to be a human druid named Storm.”

“Like in X-Men?” Brad asked, excited.

“Yeah. I always liked her.”

“Okay,” Clayton agreed. “Brad?”

“I’d love Batman, but I’m guessing that’s not appropriate. How about a barbarian warrior named—Ax Man?”

“I’m an elf bard named—Carlos Page,” Daniel declared.

“Then I want to be a dwarf rogue named Robert Mercury,” Richard stated.

“I’ll go with a monk named Bruce Lee,” Craig said, making Bruce Lee’s distinctive, high pitched screech.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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First Love – Part 11

First Love coverTheir first night on the road, they youth group stays over at a church in Denver. Maddie wakes during the night to find Claire and her friends sneaking back in from being out drinking and smoking.

Breakfast was served as a buffet. There was plenty of fruit, donuts of every variety, little boxes of cereal and a milk dispenser. This was extremely popular. The milk not only came out foamy, it was so cold that it had ice chips in it. The boys were especially taken with it and drank glass after glass.

They did a final check of their possessions and loaded into the cars. Maddie opened her bag to get out her sunglasses and found a box at the bottom. She knew it wasn’t hers, so she decided to look at it. The boys got in the car and Craig opened his door as she pulled it out. Screeching, she threw it across the front seat. It landed right where Craig was about to sit down. He stared at the box.

“Um, Madison, you want to explain that?”

“I found it in my purse! It’s not mine, I swear! I wouldn’t, I haven’t—” Instead of crying, she grabbed the box and got out of the car. She marched over to the girls’ car and banged on the door. Polly opened her window.

“Someone left these in my bag,” Madison glared right at Claire. “They aren’t mine, but I suspect that the real owner is going to need them again.” She threw them across the seat. The open box landed in Claire’s lap, scattering foil packets all over her lap, the seat and the floor.

“Stay away from me,” Madison pointed at Claire. “You don’t want to start something you can’t finish. Because I assure you, I can.” She whirled around, storming back to the boys’ car.

Polly rushed after her. She pulled the door open, reaching in for Maddie. “That was uncalled for, young lady! How dare you make such accusations.”

“Do you believe Claire, Mom?” Daniel said, getting out of the car. “Cause she’s a lying hag. Maddie would never do anything like that unless she was provoked. You should know that. Claire’s mad because I won’t have sex with her. She thinks I like Maddie, so she’s doing all this to make her look bad.” He said it with such a straight face, Madison knew it was true.

Polly gaped. “You’re making that up! To protect Maddie.”

Daniel shrugged. “Believe what you want. I know what I know. Ask any of the guys in this car, they’ll tell you about Claire. Oh, and precious Beverly too. Her, I didn’t say no to.”

Polly blanched, fanning herself with her hand. “You’re saying—?”

“Yes, Mom. I’m saying Beverly and I had intercourse. Several times. On more than one occasion.”

“You’ll say anything to protect her, won’t you?” She pointed at Maddie.

“If you mean I’ll tell the truth, yes. I won’t lie for anyone.” He turned to his father. “I told you not to let that heathen bitch come along.” He shrugged. “But what do I know? I’m just a kid.” He got in the car, shutting the door practically in his mother’s face.

“If you’re done here,” Craig said, tight lipped. “We should get on the road.”

“Aren’t you going to do anything about this?” Daniel demanded.

“Yes.” Craig took the box of condoms and went to the other car. He handed them to Claire with a tight smile. “I believe these are yours. If you and your friends sneak out again for a smoke or whatever, I will catch you and I’ll take great pleasure in sending you home. Clear?”

They nodded.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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First Love – Part 10

First Love coverAfter a game of Monopoly, which they capitulated, Maddie and Patti play charades with some of the others. Overly excited, they mess up playing, but everyone has a good time anyway. Once they are ready for bed, Maddie gets ready for bed.

Maddie actually fell asleep. She felt safe with Patti on one side and Caroline on the other. Her dreams were strange, full of the boys running through a field of daisies, leaping and capering like a bunch of idiots. It took her a little while to realize that none of them were wearing clothing. Embarrassed, Maddie woke herself up. She stared at the ceiling, wondering where those thoughts had come from. She wasn’t interested in any of the boys like that.

Naked? They had to be naked!

She mentally castigated herself. She had never seen any of them without their clothing, but she had seen a few naked men. She had brothers and they weren’t always picky about closing doors, dropping towels or jeans in her presence. She knew what men had in their pants and, though it didn’t bother her per se, looking at her friends like that, made her uncomfortable. It didn’t occur to her right away, they probably looked at her like that, and enjoyed it. But that was guys. All men were pervs—at least that’s what every woman she knew said.

Trying to find a more comfortable position, she rolled on her side. It was then that she noticed that the other girls were gone. Their sleeping bags were laid out, stuffed with their pillows, but they were gone.

Snuck out after curfew? Are they nuts?

What could they be doing at this time of night—more importantly, who were they doing it with? Surely not the guys from their group. They knew better. Besides, they knew what Craig would do if he even suspected they’d been up to no good.

Would they go out with some of the Denver boys? She didn’t even want to know. If Claire found out that Maddie knew, she’d make her life a living hell. It was unpleasant now, but Claire could ratchet it up a few notches. Maddie preferred not to put herself through that.

The door creaked. She pretended she was asleep as the girls crept back in. Maddie didn’t want to sniff too loudly, but she was pretty sure she smelled alcohol and cigarette smoke. Or was that strictly cigarettes? It smelled more pungent. She’d never smelled marijuana, but suspected that was the odor she detected. Soon, the other girls were asleep. Maddie did her best to get more sleep, but her mind was a turmoil of all the lies she would have to tell to keep them from finding out what she knew.

What if they find out? What will they do to me then? Craig and Polly probably won’t believe me. Hell, I wouldn’t even believe me if I hadn’t seen it. Claire is Miss Perfect. She and her friends are beauty queens. You can bet if they lied about me, everyone would believe it.

Eventually, Maddie fell asleep once more and didn’t wake until Patti nudged her.

“Time to get up, sleepy.”

“Yeah. One minute.” She stayed in her sleeping bag.

Patti tugged at the zipper, yanking it down.

“Okay, I’m up!”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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First Love – Part 9

First Love coverAfter a delicious meal prepared by the church ladies, the teens settle in to play games and have fun before turning in for the night.

Once dinner was over, the students from Reverend Davis’ youth group came in with board games of every possible description. They divided into groups to play Scrabble, Monopoly and Game of Life. Claire and her buddies chose Mystery Date. To be specific, Claire chose it and they went along.

Madison and Patti got into a cut throat game of Monopoly with Brad and a boy from the Denver group. Maddie wasn’t sure what his name was. Everyone called him Beef. He was a big boy, not so much fat as solidly built. He was friendly, unless they landed on his property, then he was ruthless. He and Brad owned virtually all the property and had hotels on everything. They argued about the rules constantly, refusing to listen to Patti read them aloud. They were both wrong, but didn’t want to admit it. Eventually, the girls split their property and money evenly between the boys and left to find something else.

Some of the Denver group were playing charades. Patti urged Maddie to join. They each went on a different team and sat down on the floor. Maddie chose and opened the folded paper holding her challenge. Trying to keep her face immobile, she read and re-read the words.

“Maddie, why don’t you go first this time?” Dora, one of the Denver girls said.

“Okay. Give me a moment. I have to think how to do this.” She got up, dusted off her jeans and took a neutral pose. After a moment, she held up five fingers.

“Five words,” her team guessed.

She gestured to show that it was a song and continued. It took a moment for them to guess that her first word was War. Second word is. Third was a little more difficult, but one of here teammates yelled “Mean. Tough. Strict!”

“War is strict?” the same boy said.

Another short word—as. For her final hint, she gestured to encompass the building. The first guess was church. The next, building. Shaking her head, Maddie knelt as if praying.

“God,” the same boy yelled. “No—Jesus! War is strict as Jesus!”

“What’s that from?” Dora asked.

“It’s from Pippin,” someone else said. “Lyrics from the song Glory.”

“I got to see that when I was in New York,” another girl said. “Such a good show.”

The discussion moved away from charades to the musical, then back to the game. It was now Patti’s turn. Maddie spoiled it by yelling out the answer, so they gave Patti another chance. Maddie barely managed to keep her mouth shut, but she put both hands over her face so she couldn’t blurt. Later, she apologized.

“It’s okay. I was doing the same thing with yours. Next time, let’s try to get on the same team.”

The Denver youth headed home and the Nebraska contingent got ready for bed. Patti and Maddie bedded down as far from the others as they could, making sure they were between the Polly and Caroline. They didn’t trust Claire and her friends one bit. The group shared a short prayer and the lights were out. There were streetlights outside that cast an eerie, distorted glow in the room. At least they’d be able to see if they had to get up during the night.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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Sea of Destiny – Part 42

sea of destiny coverKyle is still reeling from his actions, getting drunk and betraying Emily by taking Vera to bed. He’s hungover, surly and finds himself confronting Fr. Mike. In the presence of Adam, Kyle speaks to his father, the priest. It doesn’t go very well. Fr. Mike is determined to explain his own actions years ago.

Fr. Mike laid out a series of photographs. Each was labeled either before or after. Kyle saw more injuries and abnormalities than he ever thought to see in a lifetime. Some were grotesque, threatening to turn his stomach. Adam looked away. Kyle wouldn’t let himself. The last was one he recognized. It was a copy of his First Communion photograph. He knew that smiling face with the scattering of freckles and shock of bright red hair. Next to it, Father Michael laid a picture of the same child on a gurney being loaded into an ambulance.

“Do you remember that day?”

Kyle shook his head, trying to take in details of the photograph. A mangled bike lay to one side. His mother, much younger, hovered over the child while his little brother clung to her legs. His father stood on the other side, hand on his son’s brow as the ambulance driver tried to make him move aside for the gurney to get loaded. The picture had a date stamp from a local newspaper.

“This is why we argued. I knew I could heal you, but your mother was just as sure I

couldn’t. You were dying, Kyle. Your heart stopped before the ambulance came. I started it again, I healed your internal bleeding. I could have done it all, but your mother insisted that you needed a doctor. The doctors called it a miracle that you didn’t die. I knew it was because of what I did. I’m not bragging,” he interjected before his son could accuse him. “I’m stating fact.”

He continued in a more tender tone. “I went to the hospital to see you, but your mother wouldn’t let me in the room. So I headed to the nearest bar and got trashed. Worst binge I’ve ever been on, and passed out at my table. The bartender was a pal of mine and he let me sleep it off in the backroom. When I got home, instead of thanking me for what I’d done, she threw me out. She knew, son, but told me to leave anyway. It was at that moment I became aware that my life path lay elsewhere. I filed the annulment papers the next day.”

“So now this is where I’m supposed to thank you and forgive you? The thanks I give you. You saved me and I’m grateful. The forgiveness you’ll have to earn, old man. You ruined my life twice now. Why the hell couldn’t you wait to tell me this another time? Why did you have to pick that moment?”

“I’m dying.” Fr. Mike gathered the pictures slowly, deliberately. “Too many years of taking other people’s pain, their diseases. I thought I was processing and purging the filth, but I wasn’t. If I’m to believe the doctors, I’ve got six months. A year if I’m careful.” His eyes met Kyle’s. “I’m not careful. Too many people need me. Each person I heal takes time away from me, but gives them so much more. I need your forgiveness so my soul can rest in peace.”

Adam sniffled, rubbing his face. Kyle forced himself to breathe. He had to do it consciously because the automatic mechanism refused to work. Something in his brain snapped and he had no control over his body. Sitting in stunned silence, he made himself breathe, blink, swallow. He was numb, unable to think. What his father asked of him was impossible. His father’s confession to him the night before had driven him to do something horrible. How could he forgive the priest when he couldn’t forgive himself?

“Don’t you think you should have told me some of this last night?”

“Would it have made a difference?” His father raised a dubious eyebrow.

“Yes. Telling me this now, after I’ve totally fucked up my life, doesn’t help a lot.”

“Meaning you can’t blame me for your sins anymore.”

“I never blamed you for Margo and me.”

“No, but you blamed me for you and the woman last night.”

Kyle nodded, conceding that point. “Fair to say. It’s always easier to cope when you blame someone else, don’t you think? I blame you, you blame Mom, she blames me.” He stopped a moment, stunned by that revelation. Out of nowhere, he’d struck on the truth. “My God, she does blame me! All these years, she’s blamed me for you leaving. No wonder I always felt like I had to make things right!” He laughed almost hysterically, rising to pace the room.

“You argued because of me. She blamed me. She still does. You want my forgiveness, old man, you go to the source. Take it up with her and leave me out of it. I’m no longer taking any responsibility for what happened between you. When you can say to me that you’ve talked to her and forgiven her, then we’ll talk. In the meantime, I’ve got my own life to put back together, my own demons to fight. This is your battle, Father, not mine.”

He stalked out with Adam in his wake. He didn’t know where the priest went, nor did he particularly care. He knew he had to talk to Emily, but first he had another stop to make. Halting suddenly, Adam collided with his back.

“Where’s the chaplain?”

“Chaplain? Um….” He pointed to his right, past the way they had come. “That way.”

The ship chaplain was happy to talk to him. Adam waited outside, pacing.

© Dellani Oakes

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For My Daughter on Her Birthday

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts for a sentimental moment.

My mother, granddaughter and daughter in 2012

My mother, granddaughter and daughter in 2012

On this date, in 1982, I became a mother for the first time. My beautiful daughter, Kathryn, was born a few minutes before 4:00 in the afternoon. She had a set of lungs on her and screamed so loudly, my mother could hear her down the hall in the waiting room. I remember her saying, “That’s my grandchild.”

From the start, my daughter was a strong minded child. With a long line of stubborn, on both sides, that wasn’t too surprising. She continues to have that tenacious streak, but it has seen her through some tough times; going to college and working full time, getting two Bachelors degrees and her Masters, as well has having a child, she has done amazing things.

I would further embarrass her by telling things from her youth, but I’ll be kind and refrain. I simply want her, as well as everyone, to know that I am incredibly proud of her accomplishments and wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Happy Birthday, Kathryn Alayne. You’re my hero and when I grow up, I want to be just like you. 

I Love You, Mom


Look for Sea of Destiny here on Saturday, December 19, 2015.

First Love – Part 8

First Love coverThe group from Nebraska arrives for their overnight stop in Denver. They meet Reverend Davis and find their spots for the night.

“Boys in here,” Reverend Davis pointed to one room. “Girls are down the hall. Restrooms are in the middle.”

Maddie groaned inwardly. She’d forgotten she would have to sleep with the girls. Her stomach tied in knots, wondering what they would do to her in her sleep. They got their sleeping bags from the cars, along with their overnight things. They got settled in their rooms, then followed their noses back to the fellowship hall for dinner.

The ladies had fixed a meal of spaghetti, with huge meatballs, fresh garlic bread, salad and thickly iced chocolate layer cake for dessert. Maddie served her food and sat at a table. Patti came and sat with her. The other girls glared in their direction, taking the table furthest from the two girls.

“I’m sorry I didn’t speak up,” Patti said quietly. “Claire told me she’d say I’d given Clayton a blow job if I said anything. I didn’t!” she said quickly. “I’d never—ever do something like that.”

“What’s Claire’s problem anyway? What did I ever do to her?”

Maddie looked at Claire, who was pointedly ignoring her. She was tall, willowy, clear complected with long, curly platinum blonde hair that fell to her waist. In comparison, Maddie was frumpy, short and dumpy. Her dark blonde hair was in a shoulder length cut and hung straight as a board. Her complexion didn’t tan like Claire’s. Until recently, she’d worn braces and been flat chested. She got the braces off six months earlier and her boobs seemed to take that as the signal to grow. She went from 32A to 36C nearly overnight.

Patti sniffed, shrugging one shoulder. “Look at her,” she said, tossing long auburn hair over her shoulder.

“I did. She’s perfect.”

Her friend giggled. “Now look at the guys. No direct eye contact. They’re like deer, you’ll scare them off.”

Maddie let her gaze travel to where the boys were sitting. None of them were looking at Claire and the others. They stared openly at Maddie and Patti. Patti caught Brad’s eye and smiled, tossing her hair once more. He nearly poked himself in the eye with his fork. Giggling, she went back to her food.

That’s why,” Patti whispered. “Jealous as hell. You know how bad she wants those guys to drool over her the way they are over you?”

“Over us, you mean. I see Clayton. He needs a bib.”

“He’s kinda cute, for sure.”

“Beverly likes him.”

“Don’t I know it. She talks about nothing else. She tries to make it sound like they’re an item.”

“Not according to him. And you know how guys talk. Is he more likely to deny he’s slept with her or more likely to brag that he has?”

“Good point.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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